Israel, Thailand Ink Deal to Import 25,000 Farm Workers

Thai workers at an Israeli farm pose for photos on Sep. 7, 2019. Image: Department of Employment.

JERUSALEM (Xinhua) — The Israeli and Thai governments signed on Monday an agreement to enable the arrival of 25,000 agricultural workers from Thailand to Israel, the Israeli foreign ministry said.

The deal was signed by Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Thai Ambassador to Israel Pannabha Chandrarayma.

“This agreement is important and vital for thousands of Israeli farmers,” said Ashkenazi during the signing ceremony.

The deal “promises the continued existence of the agriculture industry and safeguard the rights of Thai workers in Israel,” he added.

The Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement that the agreement was signed after months of negotiations between the two countries.

“It will ensure that agricultural workers from Thailand arrive in Israel legally and transparently and without paying illegal brokerage fees,” the statement noted.

Israeli agriculture relies heavily on foreign workers, mostly from Thailand.

The previous agreement on agricultural workers was signed between Israel and Thailand in 2012.